On the Town

Leonard Bernstein wasn’t Jerome Robbins’ first choice to write the music for his one-act ballet Fancy Free (Morton Gould was), but the piece was a hit, which persuaded the pair to make a full-length musical out of it. They reused the premise—three sailors find luv and laffs on a 24-hour shore leave—but Bernstein turned out a brand-new score, not recycling a bar of the ballet, and the piece got a new name, On the Town. Premiered at the end of 1944, the musical was a smash, a pick-me-up for war-weary New Yorkers. Bernstein’s brash, jazzy, exhilaratingly fresh music puts On the Town right up there with Show Boat and Oklahoma! as a game-changing milestone in the genre. Opening tonight, this revival begins the Seattle Celebrates Bernstein Festival, in which practically every local performing-arts group this side of the Early Music Guild will participate. Judging by Sarah Rudinoff’s turn as wisecracking cab-driver Hildy, showcased at a Festival kick-off revue a couple weeks ago, this production should be a corker. (7:30 p.m. Tues.-Wed., 8 p.m. Thurs.-Fri., 2 & 8 p.m. Sat., 1:30 & 7 p.m. Sun. Through May 2). GAVIN BORCHERT

Mondays, Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: April 11. Continues through May 2, 2010

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